Lions evade Chieftains for league victory
After fast start, LHS girls fall to Tonganoxie
David Kern scored a game-high 11 points to lead the Lansing High boys basketball team to an ugly 48-40 victory Tuesday night against Tonganoxie at LHS.
Tongie's Jeff Hughes joined Kern with 11 points, too, but the pair were the only double-digit scorers in a game where points were hard to come by.
In typical Lansing vs. Tonganoxie fashion, the game was highlighted by tough defense and sloppy offense. The Chieftains actually were the more efficient team offensively as they made 18 of 42 shots (43 percent). The Lions (3-3 overall, 2-1 Kaw Valley League) shot a miserable 35 percent (16-for-46) and made just 15 of 35 free throw attempts, but they created more scoring opportunities with a steady supply of offensive rebounds by Kern, Kyle Miller, Austin Reynolds, Jeff Jackson and Cody Mohan. The second-chance points proved to be the difference in the game.
"Tongie was doing a good job on the defensive end," LHS coach Don Allen said. "The truth of the matter is they made it pretty difficult to run our offense, and then what we did instead of focusing on execution, instead of being a little bit patient and making them play a little defense, we thought we'd put it on the floor and go to the hole and try to make some superstar shots."
Tonganoxie found a rhythm offensively early in the game and took a 6-2 lead on a pair of buckets by Tyler mills and a Hughes jumper. Lansing stormed back and took an 8-7 lead on Chris Wagner's buzzer-beating three-pointer at the end of the first quarter.
The Lions then built a 12-7 lead when Wagner scored on a leaner and Matt Warner sank a pair of free throws, but the Chieftains came right back and tied the game on Zack Pistora's 14-footer. THS eventually took a 23-20 lead into halftime.
Lansing opened the second half on a 7-2 run and took a 27-25 lead on Kern's three-point play. After three lead changes and two ties, LHS finally seized control and took a 35-32 lead into the fourth quarter. It never trailed again.
Mohan sank a pair of free throws, Warner scored on a layup and Mohan knocked down a 12-footer to push the lead to 41-34 with six minutes left.Tongie eventually pulled within 42-38 on a layup by Pistora, but Wagner, Kern and Jackson added free throws down the stretch to seal the victory.
Wagner and Jeff Slater scored nine points apiece for LHS. Warner had six, Jackson added five and Mohan and Miller finished with four apiece.
The Lions next play at 7:30 p.m. Friday at home against Piper.
TONGANOXIE 60, LANSING GIRLS 43
For 14 minutes Tuesday night - the first six and the final eight - the Lansing High girls basketball team matched or outplayed Tonganoxie, but for the other 18 minutes the Cheiftains proved why they are the defending league champions.
Tonganoxie 60, Lansing 43.
"As a measuring stick from last year to this year, they lost people, but they're still pretty good. Our people are playing better. We're getting better. We're growing, and we're going to need to keep growing," LHS coach Keith Andrews said.
Tonganoxie whipped Lansing by an average of 30 points per game last season, but this year LHS aimed to prove that things had changed. The Lions did just that in the opening minutes as they raced to a 5-0 lead on three free throws from Rachel Darrow and a jumper by Amanda Radovich. Meanwhile, the Chieftains turned the ball over on four of their first five possessions.
Then THS awoke, and that's when everything changed. Sophomore Elizabeth Baska scored back-to-back baskets and All-State point guard Ali Pistora sank a pair of free throws that put Tongie ahead 6-5. The squads swapped leads until LHS sophomore Amanda Darrow sank a 17-footer that notched the game at 11-11 with 2:13 left in the first quarter.
After that, it was all Chieftains. They closed the quarter on a 7-2 run and used another 7-2 run to open the second quarter. Meanwhile, the Lions tried to push the pace, and that resulted in numerous turnovers. Suddenly it was 25-15 and another lopsided game appeared to be brewing.
"I think we just got kind of frustrated," Amanda Darrow said. "Everyone just wanted to win so we started pushing it and pushing it, and sometimes it didn't work out."
Tonganoxie led 32-18 at halftime after forcing 17 Lansing turnovers in the first 16 minutes. Most of that was the result of heavy pressure from the THS guards - primarily the 6-foot Pistora.
The Lions' guards settled down in the second half and had only four turnovers in the final 16 minutes. They were unable to cut into the deficit in the third quarter, however, because they missed open shots. That allowed the Chieftains to push their lead to 47-23 entering the fourth quarter.
Finally Lansing found a rhythm offensively - granted, it was too little too late - and it opened the fourth quarter on a 9-2 run with a steady flow of points from Radovich. A put-back by Radovich with 1:37 left trummed the deficit to 14 points, but that was as close as the Lions would get.
Radovich led the Lions with a team-high 19 points. Rachel Darrow scored 12, Nichole Twitchel had four, Katie Nietzke added three, and Elizabeth Cristiano and Amanda Darrow finished with two points apiece. Freshman Brittney Lang added one. Pistora led the Chieftains with 20 points and Rachel Bogard added 16.
Lansing next plays at 6 p.m. Friday at home against Piper.